Monday, April 16, 2012

Korean New National Assembly

This past Wednesday, the 11th, we had the national elections for parliament. The editorial in the Catholic Times expressed expectations of what they would like to see from those elected to the assembly.

There were Catholics elected and yet a lot of sadness because of what had not been accomplished in the past by many who were elected to the assembly. The editorial expresses hope that being elected is not only a reason for thanks and celebration but also an opportunity for all  to see what part of their service has been carried out with fidelity to the common good.

The Second Vatican Council expressed what is expected of our elected officials, in # 75 of the Pastoral Constitution: "Political parties should not prefer their own advantage over the common good." Those elected should have the will of the people in mind, the editorial said,  and for the Christian elected members, it hopes that they will follow Christian teaching.

For the Catholic, their Gospel vocation will be asking much of them. Of primary importance, we are told, is to get rid of self-interest and desire, and to resolutely  overcome an excessive concern for party interests and tactics. The domain of politics, the editorial pointed out, should be guided by virtue, morality and the common good.  For the person of faith, respect for life and for the inalienable rights of each person is a serious obligation.  Those who are Christians will work, it is hoped for the common good with unselfish service. The upcoming activities of the assembly are sure to be measured, criticized and judged, said the editorial, with a precise yardstick.

Surprising to many were the election results since it was thought that there was a lot of dissatisfaction with the administration. In the past, a 55 percent voter turnout was a good indication that the opposition would benefit, but this was not the case this time. The conservative Saenuri Party (New Frontier Party) won with a small majority in parliament, which is a sign to many that the opposition did not win its case with the people, with its opposition to the Free Trade Act and some other controversial issues backed by the administration. The daughter of past President Park Chung-hee, Park Geun-hye, now the leader of the party, was given credit by many for the surprising election results.

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